EBSA News Release: [11/08/2010]
Contact Name: Gloria Della
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666
Release Number: 10-1558-SEA
Oregon supermarket chain agrees to restore up to $8 million to
C&K Market 401(k) plan under settlement with US Department of Labor
EUGENE, Ore. C&K Market Inc. of Brookings, Ore., has agreed to restore $3 million in cash plus interest and to sell property owned by the C&K Market Inc. 401(k) plan, among other steps, in order to make restitution for a series of imprudent loans made with plan assets in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. C&K Market operates approximately 50 supermarkets in southern Oregon and northern California.
Attorneys in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor filed a lawsuit against C&K Market, together with a consent judgment agreed to by the company, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Eugene.
"Employees of C&K Market are relying upon and deserve to draw pensions from the company's 401(k) plan," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The steps taken by the Labor Department will help correct imprudent management of those funds by the people entrusted to protect the welfare of their workers."
The Labor Department's suit alleged that plan trustee Douglas A. Nidiffer and former company officer Rex Scoggins made a series of loans and extensions of credits totaling $2,185,000 from the plan to Gregg W. Boice between Nov. 3, 1998, and January 2001, to develop Rogue Landing, a proposed resort on the Rogue River in Gold Beach, Ore. Boice defaulted on his plan loans on several occasions. On March 31, 2003, the Rogue Landing property was transferred to the plan in lieu of foreclosure on the property. The plan then assumed the costs of ownership of the property.
The suit also alleged that the plan entered into an agreement with the owners of property adjacent to Rogue Landing to serve as consultants on the development and management of the resort property, and that it granted a right of first refusal option to another party to buy the Riverview Restaurant located on the resort property. Both of those actions were imprudent, according to the suit.
In addition, the department's suit alleged that the plan trustee approved a $40,000 loan from the plan to purchase a convenience store and gas station known as the John Day Market near Astoria, Ore. John Day Market was found to be contaminated by leaking underground fuel tanks, making the property unsellable. When the borrower defaulted on the loan, the plan foreclosed on the property, making the plan responsible for the costs of environmental cleanup.
The Labor Department negotiated a consent judgment with the company prior to filing its lawsuit. In addition to the restitution, the settlement directs the sale of the plan-owned properties. Under the settlement, the 401(k) plan will recover no less than $4.5 million from any sale of the Rogue Landing property. Nidiffer also agreed to resign as a trustee to the 401(k) plan.
The suit is based on an investigation by the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans. In fiscal year 2009, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.3 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. C&K Market Inc.
Civil Action Number 6:10-cv-06360-AA